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Elizabeth Olsen is Definitely Our Scarlet Witch


Last we heard from the Scarlet Witch casting camp things were not 100% no take backsies certain that Elizabeth Olsen was in the role, but now there’s official confirmation. At least, unless somebody’s been misinforming Samuel L. Jackson, and I think we all know how unlikely that eventuality is.

In August, Elizabeth Olsen‘s people were in final negotiations for her to take the role of the mutant Scarlet Witch, representing the first appearance of a character associated in any way with the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Final negotiations” is basically Hollywood talk for “definitely going to take the role,” but if anyone was looking for more confirmation than that, they’ve got it.

Samuel L. Jackson spoke to the Wall Street Journal about his recent post-credits cameo on Agents of SHIELD, and slipped in a mention of the actress:

I don’t think we begin shooting [Age of Ultron] before March of next year. I know we’re shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. [Elizabeth] Olsen [who will play the Scarlet Witch], but I don’t know what she’s doing, if she’s on the inside or the outside. I haven’t seen a script.

So there you have it, folks, Elizabeth Olsen is definitely our Scarlet Witch, and Samuel L. Jackson knows barely any more about the film than we do. That said, he’s probably not wrong. He’s Samuel L. Jackson.

(via Comics Beat.)

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  • Julia

    Casting a white blonde woman for the part of Wanda, who is half Romani, half Jewish and whose history as a Romani person and as part of a family of holocaust survivors is an important part of her character.
    Well done Hollywood, you’ve completely ruined another character minorities look up to.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I have similar reservations. Olsen is a tremendous young actor, but this was an opportunity (responsibility, really) to not hire a white actor.

  • LizbethAnne

    Considering that the Marvel has had zero women of color, and a very limited number of men of color, in their movies, I find it pretty terrible that they took a character who in canon is Roma and whitewashed her.

  • Anonymous

    Can we get a new term for this? “Christopher Nolan’ed” perhaps?

  • RodimusBen

    She is younger than I thought the Scarlet Witch would be. Also blonder.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    *sigh* I was excited that Avengers 2 was going to have more than one woman. Then they go and whitewash one of those women, and I’m far less impressed.
    Hell, I don’t even know all that much about Scarlett Witch, but even I know she’s half Romani and half Jewish.

  • Anonymous

    Meh. I’m not sure the whitewashing complaint really works when the character is herself a caucasian European, even if she is from an historically oppressed subset of caucasian Euros. It’s kind of like complaining about casting a British Protestant actor as an Irish Catholic character or a Russian actor as an Estonian character.

  • Anonymous

    Romani people are an ethnic group not a race. The Jewish identity is sometimes considered an ethnicity. So yeah, they could be white. Their dad is definitely white jewish in the comics and the twins and Polaris resemble him. Don’t think they will even mention Magneto here but saying this is whitewashing is weak. Unless you have an issue with how the characters have looked for decades.

  • Christina Tellifson

    So, Jewish people can’t be white? Hm, that’s weird. I’ll be sure to tell my friend she can’t possibly be Jewish because she’s blonde and has fairer skin than me.

    I’m fairly confident hair dye or a wig will solve the “ermagerd, she’s blonde” issue. Seemed to work out okay for Scarlet as Black Widow.

  • Christina Tellifson

    Thank you. Finally, a voice of reason.

  • LizbethAnne

    Storm appeared in the X-Men movies, which are Fox, not Marvel. Jubilee, Angel, and a few other WOC appeared in minor roles. But, again, not Marvel films.

    I’m so sick of people in my fandoms not knowing the difference.

  • LizbethAnne

    Also, Roma is in fact a word for a subgroup of the Romani. I had been under the impression that it was the group Wanda and Pietro belonged to, but it’s possible that was just fanon.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    To be fair, you said “Marvel,” not “Marvel Entertainment.” Easy for someone to think you meant all of the properties.

  • Harrison Grey

    I dunno, Karl Urban told us all Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Gary Mitchell which turned out to be both fake and totally better than what we ended up with. So they’ve pulled this stunt before.

  • Mandy

    Just a reminder that because artists/inkers draw/color a character a certain way [white] doesn’t mean they are always right. Wanda could be white sure, or she could be white passing. Blue eyes are not unique to white people yeah? I mean Magneto is Jewish yes, but a white guy. She could just take after her father completely. OR, artists just use white as the default and fail at taking into account character’s backstories.

    See also: Talia al Ghul of Batman (and also Damien). She often looks white in comics. Even though her mother, Melisande, was of explicit mixed Chinese and Arab ancestry & Ras is vaguely described as Arabian. Some people have even pointed out that her coloring changes depending on her place in the story. If acting evil, she is shaded in darker than usual. If temporarily good, she is colored as white. I don’t think Wanda suffers from this problem but we should remember that the people making these comics are human and have flaws and views that influence them.

  • Mandy

    Just a reminder that because artists/inkers draw/color a character a certain way [white] doesn’t mean they are always right. Wanda could be white sure, or she could be white passing. Blue eyes are not unique to white people yeah? I mean Magneto is Jewish yes, but a white guy. She could just take after her father completely. OR, artists just use white as the default and fail at taking into account character’s backstories.

    See also: Talia al Ghul of Batman (and also Damien). She often looks white in comics. Even though her mother, Melisande, was of explicit mixed Chinese and Arab ancestry & Ras is vaguely described as Arabian. Some people have even pointed out that her coloring changes depending on her place in the story. If acting evil, she is shaded in darker than usual. If temporarily good, she is colored as white. I don’t think Wanda suffers from this problem but we should remember that the people making these comics are human and have flaws and views that influence them.

  • Samuel

    If they were gonna rehash TOS, rehashing “Where no man has gone before” would have been way better than rehashing “Space Seed” and WoK.

  • Fisty

    The comment section for this article is a good example of how being politically correct can get out of hand.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent casting news. After seeing Martha Marcy May Marlene, Elizabeth Olsen Jumped to the top of my ‘interested in anything they do’ list.

  • John W

    So when the Scarlet Witch makes it to the screen how many notable female characters will that be for Marvel vs DC:

    Marvel- Invisible Woman, Alicia Masters, Jane Foster, Sif, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, Betty Brandt, Aunt May, Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue, Mystique, Emma Frost, Viper, Mariko Yashida, Kitty Pryde, Lady Deathstrike, Black Widow, Sharon Carter, Maria Hill, Betty Ross, Silver Fox, Moira MacTaggert, Angel Salvadore, Yukio, Elektra, Typhoid, and Pepper Potts. We have Gamora and Nebula coming next year.

    DC – Lois Lane, Vicky Vale, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Talia Al Ghul, Lana Lang, Carol Ferris, Batgirl, and Ursa Faora Ul.

  • LizbethAnne

    I didn’t edit anything to try and make you look stupid? I’m actually having trouble editing my posts, hence the two responses to you last post when one response would have made more sense.
    I think my complaint isn’t 100% about Wanda, it’s more a pattern of Marvel movies having a very white, very male-centered focus. I’m only counting the Marvel-produced movies, as opposed to all movies featuring their characters, because they’ve got the majority of characters available to them, they’ve made the most films in one universe (at least until they start crossing over X-Men and Fabtastic Four) and their movies are pretty well received. It’s kind or pointless to criticize X3 in representation when the whole movie is pretty damn terrible (don’t get me wrong, I saw it multiple times in theaters and loved some aspects, but even as a huge fan I can acknowledge that it is bad).

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  • Not So Young Democrat

    How do you whitewash a white person? It’s pretty ridiculous when we can’t have a white actress play a white character because she’s got a different hair color. I mean it’s not like it’s possible to dye her hair or put her in a wig.

  • Julia

    god you ppl will rlly fall over yourself to defend erasure won’t you?

    i know perfectly well that she could be white. that’s not the point. the point is that elizabeth olsen is the whitest, blondest woman in the entire world.
    the point is that we live in a time where jewish people are still discriminated
    against daily and in some countries even persecuted for their religion
    and their ethnic identity.
    that right now all over east and south
    europe romani people are being evicted from their homes and being beaten
    to death in the streets simply because of their ethnicity. that they’re
    90% more likely to live in extreme poverty than any other citizen of
    the countries they live in. that they’re being denied jobs, housing,
    education and basic human rights.

    and these countries are getting away with it because none of this,
    none of the struggles that these people go through every single day and
    have been going through for centuries, are in any way publicized.
    there’s no news reports, no one is being educated on what’s happening.

    for all intents and purposes, they are invisible.

    wanda maximoff was one of the rare cases of media representation they
    got and her heritage was a huge part of her backstory and what makes
    her, well, her.

    and if you take that and just completely erase it, if you cast a
    caucasian american blonde actress in a role that used to be one of the
    very few role models these people have -

    if you look at this casting and think it’s perfectly fine, if you see no problem with it, if you defend it -

    then you’re just another person in a long line of people to completely trample all over them and their culture and conflicts;
    then
    you’re actively contributing to their erasure and making it easier for
    bigots to get away with treating them like they’re subhuman.

  • Anonymous

    I think you have to understand Roma ancestry and understand the politics behind it to get why people may be upset. In Europe, people who are Romani/Roma are often victims of prejudice and racism, by “white” people who see a distinct difference between them and Roma.

    http://world.time.com/2013/08/21/roma-in-europe-age-old-discrimination-worsens-in-tough-economic-times/

    And a lot of SW’s background is how people hated her family because of their Roma ancestry.

    With Olsen’s casting, and the whispers that they might turn her British, there are fans who feel like its stripping away her character and a sense that Marvel/Disney didn’t even take her background and these fans into consideration.

  • Lilly

    It angers me that people are so intent on defending this whitewashing that they claim Romani are white. Do you know what you’re implying when you say that? You’re saying Romani are afforded the same opportunities as white people. They’re not. In Europe, particularly in Romania and Hungary, they’re treated like dirt, whatever skin tone they possess. Even in the US, a lot of people think they’re fictional and others will bring up the tramp or fortune teller stereotype. So for you to say that Romani are white, just because comic artists will default to white when they can get away with it, or just because SOME Romani look white, is completely offensive. It sweeps all of the oppression the individuals in that minority group has been through, under the rug.

    By the way, a lot of POC can whitepass – Hispanic, Indian, Middle Eastern…but just because they don’t look “ethnic” to you, doesn’t mean they are afforded the same opportunities. How dark do we have to be for you to admit that we’re a minority? SMH.

  • Harrison Grey

    And the casting. Cumberbatch played Khan well, but the whole choice was marred by the unavoidable issue of whitewashing. Cumberbatch playing a white dude with psionic powers would have been perfectly fine, and would have given us Cumberbatch with psionic powers. I call that a win-win.

  • Samuel

    If they hadn’t already wasted Faran Tahir as Captain Richard Robau of the USS Kelvin I think he would have made a fantastic Kahn. Now you need to picture Faran Tahir in a wig to look like Ricardo Montalban. Go on. Do it. I’ll wait here.

  • Anonymous

    “if you look at this casting and think it’s perfectly fine, if you see no problem with it, if you defend it -

    then you’re just another person in a long line of people to completely trample all over them and their culture and conflicts;
    then
    you’re actively contributing to their erasure and making it easier for
    bigots to get away with treating them like they’re subhuman.”

    Casting a caucasian blond woman ? The very thrust of my argument is that jewish and romani people can be white and blond. You seem to assume a lot starting with how I am oblivious to antisemitism and the ill treatment of roma people for pointing out that a role isn’t whitewashed.

    Fall over myself to defend erasure ? No. Point out moronic statements ? Yes.

  • Anonymous

    Do you agree that Wanda regardless of her ethnicity is white ?

    Do you find it hard to believe that her dad is a white European jew ?

  • Harrison Grey

    I actually meant that the whitewashing, regardless of the talent Benedict Cumberbatch has, was going to unavoidably be an issue, not that the whitewashing itself was unavoidable. And yes, come to think of it, that is a pretty fantastic casting choice.

  • http://jbsargent.wordpress.com/ TWOxACROSS

    I can understand wanting multicultural representation in a movie, but this is a movie that probably won’t touch upon the character’s backstory very much.

    Even then, they shouldn’t just cast someone who is of the same culture of the character in question if there is an actor/actress much better suited for the role. I’d rather have someone doing the role justice by bringing the character to life, rather than simply finding someone who fits their culture (which will most likely not be a prominent feature of the story).

    There’s also the simple fact that claiming a person’s skin and hair color has any bearing on their ability to play the part of someone of a different culture. Robert Downey Jr played a white man playing a very convincing black man for God’s sakes. I’m sure Elizabeth Olsen will look just fine for the role with a tan and some hair dye, and so far you can’t claim whitewashing because we’ve seen nothing of the movie yet.

    It’s not like Sam Jackson playing Nick Fury turned the character into some ebonics-spewing banger. It’s a little presumptuous to think that an actor’s skin color will wholly affect how they play their character.

    It’s great that you’re very socially conscious about the plight of oppressed cultures, but preaching in a comment section about it, and accusing people making a movie about fictitious characters of erasure isn’t really helping your cause at all.

  • Anonymous

    Scarlett is blonde too, but that doesn’t stop her from playing Black Widow. Olsen will likely change her hair color for the role.

  • Anonymous

    But they aren’t founding members in the movieverse and Pym doesn’t create Ultron in the film.

  • Anonymous

    While this is true, Wanda has been mostly drawn as white in most of her appearances over the years(Or white passing as you said). Pietro too for that matter.

    Then again, they will probably have a different back story in the film since they can’t mention Magneto.

  • Lilly

    Oh, I see. So because Ruth Negga is half Irish, we can ignore that her mother is Ethiopian and assume that she’s never had to deal with racism?

    Why do find you find it so hard to accept that Wanda is a minority?

  • Anonymous

    you need to look up differences between ethnicity and race. don’t conflate the two. Wanda can be a minority ethnically but not racially, which she is not.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    The Roma people originally came from India and are often quite dark-skinned. Similarly a lot of Jewish people do not look like white Europeans. It’s not The Voice of Reason it’s the voice that appeases white people.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    actually the roma people are racially close to indians… they are a little more mixed but still not white. a jewish/roma mix would not look white.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    >tan and hair dye

    yes blackface is well known and effective solution to racist casting

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    Roma peole are closer to Indian than they are white, and are often darker skinned than many indians.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    I’m sure all the Romani following this feel so much better now that you’ve explained away their lack of explanation, and expressed how sick you are of people complaining about things that don’t have to do with white people.

  • http://jbsargent.wordpress.com/ TWOxACROSS

    Oh c’mon, tan skin and hair dye are rather different from blackface and the problems surrounding it.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    except roma people are more indian than white, and a lot of jewish people aren’t exactly white either.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    it’s still whitewashing if they take that as an opportunity to make them not roma. also their original backstory happened way before they were actual characters. you know the original transformers thing was that they had naturally evolving gears and pulleys? yeah…

    you should keep things close to the source material but generally the point of the source material where the kinks have been worked out.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    do a google on this and come back to me.

    if you are a dark skin roma, you cannot wash the skin off.

  • http://jbsargent.wordpress.com/ TWOxACROSS

    Look, I’m sorry there’s no Roma actress who was fit for the role, but Olsen’s ethnicity will most likely not have any bearing on her playing the Scarlet Witch. Just as I said, dying her blonde hair would give her the heroine’s haircolor, and from what I remember, Scarlet Witch doesn’t have an incredibly dark complexion, so a tan should work fine – just like it’s worked for many actors and actresses who played characters of different ethnicity.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    Um, excuse me? How do you know there’s “No Roma actress who was fit for the role”? They never even put out a casting call for one. They were always looking for pretty white girls. That’s actually pretty fucking racist to even say. Also just because Scarlet Witch is not dark does not mean she is white. Many asians are paler than many american whites.

    This isn’t about accuracy, it’s about cultural representation and if you could get your ignorant head around that for one minute we’d get somewhere. Roma people are treated horribly by the media and the one time we get a character of Roma heritage people make excuses for her not being played by a Roma actress. They had a social obligation to get this right.

    You don’t have to care since the issue doesn’t affect me and that’s what pisses me off. You can view it as an issue of accuracy rather than representation and don’t even realise how offensive what you’re saying is.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    that’s just dumb. there are any number of other villains they could have used.

  • http://jbsargent.wordpress.com/ TWOxACROSS

    I’m sorry, do you know with 100% accuracy that they sent out a casting call for “pretty white girls”? Because that sounds pretty assumptive, and also a bit inflammatory. They may have seen Olsen’s previous work and offered her the role.

    And to be completely honest, if the studio is looking for accuracy with the Witch’s aesthetic, a woman who is only half-romani, with dark hair and what seems to be a fairly “white” complexion, what is the problem that they cast someone who is a great actress and who can easily look the part? Simply because she’s not Roma? Simply because you can look at her and know she’s not?

    Man, did people get this worked up over Magneto not being played by a Jewish guy? McKellen was still fantastic for the role, despite not being Jewish.

    Sure that sucks they didn’t get a Romani actress, but it doesn’t diminish whatever the character’s role might be, and who knows if her ethnicity will even have any part of the movie at all? Do they have some sort of responsibility to compromise the movie’s story just to make sure the character is the icon of the Romani? Wouldn’t that seem both hackneyed and vapid, way too forced to possibly even be appropriate?

    Also keep in mind this is a comic book character who was designed a specific way, one who was designed to look pretty damn white.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    I know this because they specifically named the actress they were looking for.

    Will you please stop talking about what’s offensive to white people? This false equivalence is offensive in of itself.

    Representation of PoC in movies is a HUGE issue, as is recognition of Roma. There are already an endless number of roles for pretty white actors

    It would compromise the movie to cast a Roma actress, saying this is saying that a Roma actress would be inherently worse which is, guess what, really fucking racist. There are enough people out there that they could have found someone. It’s a big world.

    The idea that representation doesn’t matter and should always take a back seat the story(which they don’t care about either) and that proper representation can *never* improve the story is just amazingly white in of itself.

    It’s especially infuriating with Star Trek as when Uhara was cast as a black woman it was huge, even though she’d be viewed as “token” cast member nowadays. The amount of young black women she inspired is absolutely unreal. Do you think Star Trek suffered for not casting a “better” white actress?

    You’re basically saying that Roma don’t deserve to have a character and actress they can recognise with. White people are already over-represented. We don’t need more of that. You also seem very ignorant of the level of persecution that Roma face and fail to realise the problem with casting a white actress to portray a character who would look closer to the middle eastern than white regardless.

    I don’t complain as much about Magneto because he has never been as obviously jewish as Scarlet Witch was Roma, but if they *did* cast an ethnic jew that would have been swell too.

    http://www.heyash.com/in-defense-of-arbitrary-diversity/

    Read this and stop being so dumb. Please.

  • PrincessOfTheCrystal

    she is not white. she is mixed race. just because there is white in there doesn’t make her white. yes, *some* Roma, usually half Roma can white pass but most don’t.

  • http://jbsargent.wordpress.com/ TWOxACROSS

    Well, I guess I just feel differently about things. I understand and mostly agree with what was said in that blog post you linked, but honestly, as a writer I think it’s still a little misguided to make characters a certain way specifically for a reaction. I’ve thought about and done it in the past and it always felt forced. I have some very natural People of Color that sort of just happen, but more often than not when I have to think “I need a homosexual character”, trying to implement one is the wrong way to go about it. If it doesn’t come naturally I’m worried that readers will feel the same way. Or maybe I’m just overly worrisome, who knows?

    I know of no Romani actresses off the top of my head so I’m not sure who you’d say would be good enough for the role otherwise. Granted, I don’t know a multitude of non-big name stars because I have only a passing interest in actors in general. However, there’s still something to be said for giving a role to someone simply because of their ethnicity and not their acting ability. Would you honestly rather have a Roma actress in a role and potentially do horribly? I can understand wanting representation, but at that point it’s at the expense of quality and I think would actually be detrimental to the image of the Romani.

    Don’t get me wrong, though, if I knew of a Romani actress that was great for the job, then by all means, she should have been cast. But from what I know, Elizabeth Olsen is a damn good actress, so I can understand why they might cast her.

    “You’re basically saying that Roma don’t deserve to have a character and actress they can recognise with.”

    Hey now, I said nothing of the sort. I’m just a firm believer in not focusing on one’s race/ethnicity/gender/orientation and giving something to the person who shows to be the most competent for the circumstances asked. I’m all for more representation of any one of those aspects of a person, but I think a person’s abilities are more important, just as I believe that a person’s personality is.

    I believe everyone, every race/ethnicity/gender/orientation/whatever deserves to have a character or actors they can recognize with, but I think they shouldn’t be recognized simply for that aspect. To me, it just seems to sell them and their qualities short :(

    I’d also ask you not call me dumb :/ There’s no need for those kinda things.